In the birth announcement of what we now know as the American Republic, the political leaders of the day asserted two principles that previously had been absent from human experience. The first was the equality of all humans. The second was government based on the consent of the governed. The one follows from the other, and both were truly radical in this initial proclamation.
Two hundred and thirty-seven years after this bold declaration the political descendants of these path finding leaders face a choice between presidential candidates and major political parties that differ markedly on these two principles. The Democratic Party is a true heir of the ideals of equality and government by consent of the governed. The Republican Party has foresworn equality in numerous ways and it actively engaged in depriving many Americans of the opportunity to express their consent. President Obama is a champion of equality for all citizens and a defender of the franchise. Mr. Romney is the living embodiment of inequality and a huge proponent of it. Mr. Romney ardently seeks 50% plus 1 of all votes cast even if the votes of many are suppressed.
The heart of the problem with Romney and the Republicans is not simply that they are dishonest, but that they are unprincipled. They are expending millions and exerting tons of effort to secure positions of authority in an institution they despise and routinely sabotage. They wish to rule rather than govern. Where they have achieved untrammeled power, they have sought to ensure they retain it by enacting laws harmful to their chief rival – the Democratic Party. They have disparaged and dismissed up to half the country and frequently express the opinion that some people deserve to vote and many others do not. They have arbitrarily divided the populace into makers and takers and found ever more devious ways to evoke a feeling of bitterness among their supporters and to incite hostility toward their opponents.
Once Romney secured the Republican Party’s nomination, a leading member of his campaign asserted that he would shake the Etch-A-Sketch and transform himself into a different candidate. Then, it was authoritatively stated that fact checkers would not dictate the Romney campaign. Both of these remarks were interpreted at the time to convey a level of dishonesty embedded in the campaign. What was not noticed to any great extent was the unprincipled nature implied by these sentiments. In the one case, the campaign was boasting that they had secured the party’s nomination based on positions they were jettisoning. In the second case, they asserted that they would say what they wanted even if their declarations were vulnerable to refutation.
Romney had campaigned in the Republican primaries as a “severe conservative.” When, he secured the nomination, however, it was announced that that guise would vanish like an Etch-A-Sketch drawing. What is the strength of principle in a candidate whose positions can be completely revised by a few shakes? If facts and those who check them do not dictate one’s campaign, what does? Could it be fabrications? There is a saying, “False in one; false in all.” It goes to credibility. If a person, has spoken falsely in one instance, it could be reasonable to doubt the credibility of the person’s statements in other instances. This is a settled principle of law, and if jurors are entitled to dismiss all testimony from a witness who was untruthful in one material statement. Why should voters not have the same right?
Mr. Romney was false a minimum of eighty-two times in the three presidential debates. For example, the Washington Post in house fact-checker awarded Romney’s pledge to create 12 million new jobs four Pinocchios — the most untrue possible rating, “the Post expressed incredulity at the fact Romney would personally stand behind such a flawed, baseless claim.” In order to get the 12 million jobs, the Romney campaign extracts numbers from three studies that do not in any way conform to his proposals. The fact-checker described the math “as mostly made of gossamer.” Perhaps this is one reason Romney disdains fact-checking. In the third debate, Romney asserted, “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.” This is pure nonsense. Syria and Iran share no border and Iran has a 1,500 mile coastline. In making this declaration, Mitt Romney reveals not only untruthfulness, but ignorance. He also declared the Navy had fewer ships than it did in 1916. This made no sense because in 1916 the U S had 11% of world naval power. In 2011, the U S has 50% of world naval power and nearly five times as much as the second nation. As a third example, Romney said in the first debate, “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.” However, Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and the estate tax as well as other tax reductions, reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015 over ten years this amounts to $5 trillion tax cut. Mr. Romney has been false numerous times in not one, but all three debates. He has been no more truthful on the stump. He is unprincipled and false in all.
The waning days of the campaign provided two more examples of Romney’s blithe indifference to truth and utter lack of principle. The first comes in the form of statements made and ads released by Romney concerning Jeep. First, he said, Jeep was going to ship jobs from plants in Ohio to plants in China. Chrysler called these bogus and unnecessary fantasies. Then, the Romney campaign released video and audio ads repeating the false claims. Chrysler again denounced them as false, but Romney will not allow his campaign to be dictated by facts and feels truth is what he says it is. Second, Romney refused to take responsibility for statements he made about dismantling FEMA and turning disaster relief responsibilities over to the states and even private enterprise.
“During a GOP primary debate last year, Romney said he supported the idea of states and private sector groups taking over responsibility for disaster relief.”
“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction,” he said. “And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, ‘In the federal budget, what we should cut?’ we should ask the opposite question: ‘What should we keep?’”
Here Romney reveals at least two things. One is his complete misunderstanding of the American Republic. The Constitution was written to solve problems arising from the states having too much power and responsibility, not to give them more power and responsibility. Another is the purpose of forming a more perfect union. The radically decentralized approach Romney advocates was tried during the nation’s first eleven years and again by the Southern Slave States. It did not work either time and will not work now. Because Romney is as ignorant as he is arrogant, he does not know this and has not scruple about reviving this fallacious argument again when he thinks it is politically advantageous.
Mr. Romney shows yet again that he has neither the understanding nor the conviction to be a credible president. He lies facilely and frequently. His grasp of American history and the fundamental philosophy of constitutional government are flawed. He has not core convictions, but is driven by ferocious ambition. He is the wrong man for these times and the position of POTUS. He is wrong: factually, logically, and ethically wrong.
To be fully human we have a greater need of the principled than of the practical. It is in and by the practical that we exist, but it is solely by and for the principled that we truly live. As true as this is in any aspect of our lives, it is even more so in our role as citizens and voters. We must prioritize principle and we must protect the presidency from seizure by the most thoroughly unprincipled person ever to win the presidential nomination of a major political party. Mitt Romney is unfit for this office and nothing he has said or done in the campaign can change that inconvenient, but absolute, truth.
Tags: 2012 election, character, citizenship, Larry Conley, Presidency, principle, Truth, voting